The chaos in the National Health System (SNS) is becoming increasingly intense, as the Association of United and Solidarity Health Professionals of Mozambique (APSUSM) has joined, on Sunday, the Mozambique’s Medical Association (AMM) to demand better pay and positive working conditions. The strike, announced by this group, will last 21 days.

The two striking organizations agree that the precarious situation in various hospitals is getting worse and worse, given the lack of medicines for patients, the deplorable condition of the beds, the lack of food for hospitalized patients and the shortage of medical and surgical equipment.

With only the medical profession shutting down, hospital care was already characterized by excessive delays and long queues. Now that the other health professionals have also resumed their strike, the scenario has become more worrying, with reports of deaths in the country’s main hospital units, such as Maputo Central Hospital (HCM), the largest in the country.

On Monday, the Citizen’s Observatory for Health (OCS) visited some hospitals in the country’s capital and observed the absence of health professionals in their offices, as well as the lack of patients in the queues. In other words, as they weren’t being attended to, they were choosing to leave the hospitals without having received any medical assistance.

On the other hand, maternity wards, pediatric and emergency services were characterized by long queues, as the doctors were almost non-existent.

At the José Macamo General Hospital, for example, the OCS team questioned two ladies who, after waiting for a long time in search of care, ended up leaving the place to go home, because they allegedly didn’t have the resources to go to the clinic.

One of the interviewees, Hortência Júlio, lamented the fact and called on the government to find a quick solution to prevent people from dying due to lack of hospital care.

Hortência Júlio

The patient said that she went home sick because she had no other choice, not knowing what would happen to her in the coming days.

“Yesterday I wasn’t feeling well and I decided to come to the hospital. We got here at 7am and so far, (11am) nothing is happening. There are no nurses in the offices and nobody is telling us anything. There’s nothing left for us to do but go home. It’s a sad situation, this is really killing the population. Let the government react before it’s too late”, she emphasized.


Still at the José Macamo General Hospital, we spoke to Celso Timóteo, who, with his wife, had just left a pediatric appointment for his infant daughter. Although these services are working, he recognizes that many people are being affected by the demonstrations.

In his opinion, the responsibility lies with the government, because it alone has the obligation to provide better health services to the people, and the health professionals are complaining for a just cause.

“The government should respect the doctors’ demands, because it’s not fair that the people suffer the consequences of this strike. Doctors are the salvation of us all”, he emphasized.

Celso Timóteo

Germana Sambo, another patient interviewed by the Citizen Observatory for Health team, although she saw other patients leaving the place and even though the offices were empty, she remained in the hope that someone would attend to her.

“It was full here, but as you can see, the offices are empty and there’s no-one to attend us. So, people have been giving up and leaving the benches”, he said.

He deplored the situation and called for the government to intervene quickly to avoid the suffering of users.

“Let this all pass quickly. People are suffering. There was a patient here who was very unwell and had a sore throat, nobody was there to see him and he had to leave”, she said.

Germana Sambo

Still at the José Macamo General Hospital, we interacted with Kelvin Batista, a patient who had been waiting for about an hour just to buy the ticket that would entitle him to medical assistance. For her, if it takes so long just to buy a ticket, medical care is unimaginable. 

“The situation is extremely sad and worrying, because there are many patients who are not getting care due to the impasses that still persist between the government and health professionals. This situation is going to cause the death of many people”, said the user, adding that “the competent authorities must regularize this matter. If the government doesn’t take an urgent decision and enter into dialogue with the health professionals, people will continue to die because of the lack of care in the hospitals”, she said.

Kelvin Batista

The OCS team also visited the Chamanculo General Hospital and came across an equally worrying scenario, as patients crowded round in the hope of being seen, even though the professionals were not on duty.

In Chamanculo, as in José Macamo, users talk about the absence of medical staff, which makes the service too slow.

“What I’m noticing here is the reduced number of medical staff, a situation that contributes to very slow service. I arrived in the early hours of the morning and it’s already 12 noon, but I still haven’t been seen”, said Vicente Salvador.

Vicente Salvador


This expression is supported by Isaura José, a health service user. She described the care as terrible, as it takes a long time to get a diagnosis.

According to Isaura, the government is insensitive to the people’s pain, which is why it isn’t bothering to resolve this situation.

“I’m sorry that the government isn’t concerned about people’s lives. It should resolve this issue above all others, because many people, due to lack of medical care, have been dying since the strike began”, she emphasized.

Isaura José

On the other hand, at the Mavalane General Hospital, we met Marcelina Paula, a patient who had been referred to the Manhiça district hospital for some tests. She had already undergone the blood tests and was just waiting for the results, but she says that the delay in service is notorious and exhausting.

“I hope this strike ends soon because we, as patients, are having a very bad time, without knowing why. I give the doctors a lot of strength to return to normal activities. Let them understand that the patients are not to blame because they are dying”, she said.

Marcelina Paula

These reports are a sample of the problems experienced in various hospital units. In all the provinces, the hospitals are abandoned, as the health professionals are on strike, using “their weapons in the cold war” that they have been having with the government, through the Ministry of Health (MISAU).


Faced with this situation and with a view to safeguarding the well-being of users of the National Health System (SNS), the OCS calls for immediate negotiations between the government and the group of professionals on strike, namely the Medical Association and the Association of United and Solidarity Health Professionals of Mozambique.   

The parties must seek efficient solutions with the aim of putting an end to this dilemma, which is already damaging the health of the population that needs care, not to mention the chronically ill who must not cease treatment, at the risk of becoming weak and dying little by little.

Because the Citizen Observatory for Health stands in solidarity with the users of public services in the country’s health centers, it reiterates its call for the government and the medical profession to find consensual mechanisms to put an end to this tug-of-war, which is putting the lives of many citizens in danger.

The government must ultimately seek satisfactory answers for health professionals, through responsible management and governance mechanisms, with a view to putting an end to the historical conflicts in the health sector.

The interests of the citizen must be defended, guaranteeing access to quality health services for the user.

The OCS believes that this tug-of-war between the government and health professionals is negatively affecting the lives of users, and that in some maternity hospitals humanized care no longer exists, having returned to the days when births were carried out domestically in problematic and scientifically inadvisable contexts.

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